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When it comes to United Airlines credit card offers, potential cardmembers aren’t short on options. Four cards to choose from mean there’s one for every type of traveler. Which is the best? That depends on you.
We’ll break down the current United credit card offers and perks so you can choose the one that’s right for your travel plans and style.
The United Gateway℠ Card vs. United℠ Explorer Card vs. United Quest℠ Card vs. United Club℠ Infinite Card
Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Earn 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The United Gateway℠ Card offers the lowest bonus, but also the lowest spending threshold. Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
The United℠ Explorer Card affords a much more generous welcome offer. Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
The United Quest℠ Card tops that slightly. Earn 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Last up, the United Club℠ Infinite Card provides an impressive miles bonus. Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Each card comes with a different annual fee except for the United Gateway℠ Card, which has none, making it a stellar option for those who don’t fly often or wouldn’t use all the perks that come with cards with higher annual fees.
The United℠ Explorer Card has a $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee, which allows cardmembers to test the perks and benefits that come with holding the card.
Annual fees start to rise with the United Quest℠ Card, however: It will cost you $250 per year to hang on to this one, but it does come with a suite of perks and benefits that will make it worth the price for some.
Coming in at the upper end of the annual fee spectrum is the United Club℠ Infinite Card at $525 per year, but that can be offset by taking advantage of the free United Club membership that comes with it.
» Learn more: What credit cards get you into United Polaris lounges?
If it’s elite status you’re after, many of these cards can help you achieve it faster, except for the United Gateway℠ Card, which offers no fast-track to status.
The United℠ Explorer Card can give you a boost through the ability to earn 500 Premier Qualifying Points for every $12,000 you spend on purchases up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year — you need 3,000 to reach Premier Silver. Those extra points can be applied toward your Premier status qualification all the way up to Premier 1K.
You can earn even more PQP with the United Quest℠ Card, which offers 500 PQP for every $12,000 you spend up to 3,000 PQP in a calendar year, a larger cap than the United℠ Explorer Card.
Lastly, with the United Club℠ Infinite Card, you can score up to 4,000 PQP in a calendar year through 500 PQP for every $12,000 you spend, giving it the largest cap in terms of earning elite status with your spending.
» Learn more: Guide to United Airlines Premier elite status
Anniversary bonuses and other benefits
Several of these cards also come with special perks and benefits, a few of which accompany each account anniversary.
If you have the United Quest℠ Card, for example, you’ll automatically receive up to $125 in statement credits each year as reimbursement for United purchases that you charged to your card. You’ll also score 5,000 miles back in your MileagePlus account up to two times every anniversary year after you take a United-operated award flight.
The United Club℠ Infinite Card, on the other hand, comes with a United Club membership, which is worth up to $650 annually, making the card’s annual fee more than worth it if you were already paying for access. You’ll also enjoy premier travel services like priority check-in, security, boarding and baggage handling if it’s available.
Choose the best United credit card offer for you
Naturally, not every card is right for every traveler.
The United Gateway℠ Card is great for those who may not travel on United that often but wouldn’t mind a quick miles boost for an upcoming award flight and a way to earn a few miles through everyday spending.
The United℠ Explorer Card is more suited to those who travel with United at least a few times a year. You can earn lots more bonus miles right off the bat, plus sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry at no cost after the statement credit. The two United Club passes every year are a definite benefit too, especially if you’re anticipating a long layover.
The United Quest℠ Card is definitely a step up for more loyal United customers. For starters, you get up to $125 back in statement credit when you book travel on the airline, essentially cutting the annual fee in half. Plus, you’ll get 5,000 miles back on up to two award flights every year.
For those who prefer to travel in style, the high-annual-fee United Club℠ Infinite Card offers the swankiest perks of them all: annual access to United Clubs, but also the opportunity to fast-track Premier status and earn more miles for every United flight you do pay for with the card.
No matter which one you choose, you’ll earn United MileagePlus miles and enjoy enough miles for award travel faster.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card